|Out on his asterisk|
"I think it's a good thing for the citizens of Howard County," said County Executive Allan Kittleman. "I want to commend everyone in the community for standing up when they learned about the sheriff's actions and his comments. I think it was because of our total community coming together ... that led to this day."
The charges against Fitzgerald came in a 48-page report put out by the county's Office of Human Rights. It said that he called African-Americans the "n" word, and referred to former County Executive Ken Ulman as "little Kenny Jew-boy."
The report alleged the sheriff told one employee: "African-American deputies are not too smart, but they get the job done."
And that he told a black deputy at a banquet that there was no watermelon for him.
So his list of offenses pretty much covers the entire panoply of filthy disgusting awfulness. It was clearly time for him to go, and he leaves after a career as a county cop before being elected sheriff ten years ago. (In Howard, and many other Maryland counties, the sheriff's office is not the county's primary law enforcement agency, but, rather, provides courthouse security, serves warrants, transports prisoners and handles landlord-tenant disputes.)
Credit for removing this blight (and make no mistake: Fitzgerald is a Democrat and the current county exec is Republican) goes to Howard County Council Chairman Calvin Ball, who persuaded the sheriff that it was best for all concerned that he take his pension and vamoose. Also, Deputy Charles Gable, who likened Fitzgerald's management to a "reign of terror," and quit his job during the investigation, will be reinstated with $58,350 in back pay.
When I was in ninth grade (1966) at the now-destroyed (not by me) Towsontown Junior High School, we were ushered into the cafeteria one warm spring afternoon to hear a talk by the Baltimore County State's Attorney, one Samuel Green, an alumnus of our citadel of middle education. He went on for a period, speaking of how hard work and honesty and diligence and Doing The Right Thing propelled him to be the county's top prosecutor. And the teachers all cheered and reminded us that one of us could someday aspire to be as great as Sam Green.
In 1974, as the investigations into corruption in our fair county hit pay dirt, it turned out that Green helped to cover up a bribe from some dude who wanted to clear his arrest record, cheated on his expense account, agreed to fix a case in exchange for sex, threatened to kill a former deputy, hired women strictly for their sexual skills (his personal assistant listed "hat check girl" under "previous training and experience"), cheated a client for whom he served as legal guardian out of $235,000, and forced people at his lurid sex parties into "individual acts of perversion SO profound and disgusting that decorum prohibits listing them here," as Doug Niedermeyer would have said.
But here I am, thinking that nonsense like this ended years ago. Here's to a fresh start in Howard County.